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Al-Qaida: US Airstrike Kills Top Leader in Yemen

This image taken off a video posted online on January 14, 2015, by the media arm of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula purportedly shows Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi claiming responsibility for the attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen says a U.S. airstrike killed one of its top leaders last month.

The SITE intelligence group reported Thursday that the al-Qaida branch said a U.S. airstrike on the Yemeni port city of Mukalla killed Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, his eldest son and several other militants.

Ansi had claimed responsibility on behalf of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula for the January terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine, which used cartoons to mock radical Islam.

At a Pentagon briefing, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter would not comment on the report. "We just don't talk about those, and certainly not from this podium," he said. "On AQAP in Yemen, we continue to apply pressure there."

The United States has frequently used unmanned drones to launch airstrikes against al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen. But it withdrew from the Yemeni air base it had been using last month because of the advance of Houthi rebels.

The Charlie Hebdo attack for which Ansi, as spokesman, claimed responsibility killed 12 people, including journalists who drew cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The two gunmen also killed hostages inside a Jewish supermarket before French police shot them dead.

Ansi also appeared in other al-Qaida videos, calling for attacks on Westerners.

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